We survived a baseball-free weekend (and for most of us a bad football weekend) and now we look forward to the World Series, which gets underway in Kansas City on Tuesday night (5:00 Pacific on Fox – all games will start at 5 and are on basic Fox).
The main story of the series is that both teams qualified as wild cards. Kansas City finished behind Detroit in the AL Central, and the San Francisco Giants were runners-up to the Dodgers in the NL West. Each team had to survive a one-game wild card play-in game, and then win two full series to advance to the title round.
This is exactly the opposite of what MLB was shooting for when they switched to the one-game wild card playoff last year. The goal was to create an easier path to the World Series for the division winners, and make it tougher for the wild card teams to advance.
They succeeded in the goal – it is definitely tougher for wild card teams to advance now – but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. This year’s World Series is Exhibit A.
Both teams have played exciting ball throughout the postseason, and I think we can count on that to continue in the Series. What I am hoping for is something that has not yet happened in the 2014 MLB postseason: a series stretched out to full length.
No losing team has won more than one game in a series yet in this postseason. It’s time for that to change: I’m hoping we get to at least six games. And if we can get to a Game Seven, well, that’s the best our sport has to offer.
Quick refresher, your ex-Rainiers and other locals:
KANSAS CITY: pitcher Jason Vargas is scheduled to start Game Four on Friday night. Raul Ibanez is with the team but is probably not going to be on the active roster.
SAN FRANCISCO: infielder/outfielder Mike Morse is probably going to get starts as the DH in the games played at Kansas City. Yusmeiro Petit is the long man in the bullpen. The Giants also have state of Washington natives Tim Lincecum and Travis Ishikawa, though neither of them played for Tacoma.
Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker has left the Arizona Fall League after just two starts, rather than the four or five that the team was hoping he would make.
Fortunately this is not injury related. Walker reportedly feels great and is 100% healthy; he just had a need to go home to California according to the report linked below.
I’m hearing that this is no big deal and Walker will be ready to go for spring training.
- Bob Dutton has the official word on Walker leaving the Arizona Fall League.
- Mariners pitcher Chris Young was voted by his peers as the American League Comeback Player Of The Year.
- Both Larry Stone of the Seattle Times and John McGrath of The News Tribune have columns on Federal Way’s Travis Ishikawa and his walk-off homer to win the NLCS.
- McGrath writes that the World Series should be a good one, and may the best second place team win.
- Everybody’s favorite band named after a local freeway exit has reunited. Honk as you pass exit 108!
- If you are an ESPN Insider, Buster Olney’s World Series preview is an excellent overview.
- SB Nation baseball writers asked themselves the question, which World Series would you time travel back to see?
If I could time travel to see a World Series, I would go to 1926. Cardinals – Yankees. Sportsman’s Park, Yankee Stadium. St. Louis wins in seven. The Grover Alexander vs. Tony Lazzeri battle in the 7th inning of Game Seven remains one of the most famous moments in World Series history. Rogers Hornsby. Babe Ruth. Lou Gehrig. Miller Huggins. Waite Hoyt. Herb Pennock. Urban Shocker. Branch Rickey. And the whole thing ends when Ruth gets caught stealing second while representing the tying run.
I would convince Graham McNamee to hire me as help in the broadcast booth during the games. I would spend all of the money I made on cigarettes – not to smoke, just to try to get mint condition Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Rogers Hornsby baseball cards. I’ll smuggle the cards back to the current day, sell them, and buy an island to spend my winters on. Pretty good plan, eh?